handcuffs
Finbar Shirley entered the house by climbing through an open window - Representational image PROOffice of Public Affairs/Flickr Commons

A burglar who entered a family home by climbing through an open window and then choking an elderly woman unconscious has been jailed for six years.

In a bizarre incident, Finbar Shirley, 24, sneaked into the house in Canterbury, Kent, in an attempted burglary but proceeded to "take off his shoes" and then sit on an elderly couple's bed after getting 'distracted' for some unknown reason. When the woman entered her room to use the bathroom and saw him, he attacked her and choked her unconscious.

Her husband then came upstairs and saw her lying on the floor, after which Shirley calmly walked down the stairs and left the house, the Daily Mail reported.

The incident was immediately reported to Kent Police and Shirley was identified and then arrested.

A spokesman for Kent Police said, "When Finbar Shirley was arrested on the day of the attack, he told officers he liked to see how others lived and admitted to climbing through an open window of the woman's house."

At the court hearing, the judge heard the sequence of events – how the burglar had entered the house, looked around the bedroom, took off his shoes and then sat on the bed.

Investigating officer DC Steve Day said, "This is a particularly disturbing case that left the victim and her family absolutely terrified.

"Shirley had taken an unhealthy interest in the house and then calmly attacked the woman without hesitation when he thought he would get caught. He hadn't taken anything but had looked around and then simply sat down on the bed.

"Luckily, her husband found her in time. Otherwise, the outcome could have been a lot worse.

"Shirley is clearly a significant risk to the public and the victim and her family will no doubt suffer the emotional effects of his attack for some time. He'll now serve time in prison for his behaviour," Day added.